GBBO Week 4 – What a load of Batter!

Well this GBBO week really baffled me. It’s great to have new things featured on the programme, but I found all the challenges for Batter week rather boring!  If you want to catch up on the latest episode then click HERE.  Personally, I think you shouldn’t mess around too much with certain traditional recipes like Yorkshire Pudding and Churros, but this is totally my opinion and maybe I haven’t tried enough different types to know for sure.

Pancake? ShPancake! Here’s a different kind of batter recipe I’d like to share – Chilla! This is an Indian recipe which is so much easier than Dosa batter as there is no fermenting and waiting around for 24hours (or more!).  Most Chilla’s I’ve eaten use Chick pea batter (Besan) and sometimes this can feel a bit heavy afterwards. So I love this recipe as it uses a mixture of Daal’s which are also high in Protein but produces are lovely light batter.

You can eat these by themselves as it’s already lightly spiced, but I love eating it with a sweet and spicy combo like Jaggery and a spicy ‘Kara Kuzhambu’…yummm!! But it’s also delish with something like an onion, tomato or coconut chutney. I’d love to know what you end up eating yours with🙂

Enjoy!

Suji x

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The fenugreek seeds and Asafoetida both help with flatulence and are great for digesting high protein lentils, but these are optional and if you leave them out they won’t affect the overall taste.

If you can’t get the Whole Urad Dal you can use split urad dal which might be easier to obtain in certain locations.

What you need:

  • Masoor Daal (split red lentils) – 1 cup
  • Mung Dal (split yellow gram lentils – not the green!) – 1 cup
  • Whole Urad Dal (black gram lentils without skin)- 1 cup
  • Fenugreek seeds – 1 tsp (optional)
  • Coriander leaves – 1 cup – chopped finely
  • A small onion – chopped finely
  • Cumin seeds – 2 tsp
  • Curry leaves – a spring – finely chopped (these can be difficult to find in certain countries so you can leave these out if you can’t get them)
  • Green chillies – 2 – chopped finely (optional)
  • Asafoetida – a pinch (optional) 
  • Salt, to taste (I add about 1.5 tsp)

How to make it:

1. Soak all the Daal in 5 cups of water for at least 3 hours (it can be more but not any less)

2.  Grind the Daal in a food processor/mixie until it becomes a smooth batter without big lumps of Daal in it.  You can add some of the water if you need to make it into a smoother consistency but don’t add all of it straight away.

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3.  Add all the other ingredients and mix well. Check the seasoning at this point and add more salt or spice if needed.

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4.  Heat a cast iron skillet ,or a non-stick frying pan, with a teaspoon of a flavourless oil like vegetable oil.

5.  Pour on the batter evenly onto the pan with a ladle and spread the batter into a circular disc, resembling a pancake (Chilla) . Do note that these don’t have to be as thin as a European style pancake and not as thick as the North American style ones.

6. After a few minutes you will see some of the Chilla turning brown and at this point you can loosen the sides with a spatula and then turn it over to cook on the other side.

You can definitely make it a more tasty Chilla if you add Ghee/Butter at step 6 or 7 (or Margarine if you want to keep it vegan)

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7.  After about 3 minutes or until the other side is cooked through you can take the Chilla off the pan and serve!  Usually the Chilla is served as a soft pancake but if you like it crispier you can leave it on the pan for longer.

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Serve with a chutney or side dish of your choice!🙂

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GBBO Week 3 – Bread week

It’s the day of the forth week’s episode and I know I am so late with keeping up with the GBBO bake along, but better late than never?!  I was planning to make such exciting things for Bread week but this week was particularly busy and I had a rubbish bake with a Cinnamon Couronne – those of you who follow me on Instagram and Twitter will know all about this already!🙂 So I only really had time to make these bread rolls, which in fact was the best thing I could have done from Bread week.

On top of all of that, the shocking news that the GBBO production team will be moving to Channel 4 for the next series! Whaaaaaat!!!!! And the presenters Mel & Sue are also making an exit! Disaster. I am not sure how the show is going to keep it’s ratings as it is a Household name now and I feel the success is due to no advert breaks and brilliant presenters. Oh well, I hope this doesn’t put off any budding bakers out there and hope these easy 50/50 bread rolls gives some inspiration🙂

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These are one of the first things I baked when I was learning to make bread, and it’s always been a favourite. I have just tweaked it slightly using Spelt flour and milk which gives it a tastier flavour (in my opinion)  and hence the name ’50/50 bread rolls’ . They have the lovely texture and nuttiness from both white and brown flour and are perfect just by themselves with butter or margarine or with some yummy soup or you can even stuff them with your favourite sandwich ingredients!

Makes approx 10 small rolls

What you need:

  • strong white organic bread flour, plus extra for dusting – 250g
  • Spelt flour – 250g
  •  Salt – 1 tsp
  • dried Yeast – 2 tsp
  • Warm milk – approx 75ml (you can use Almond or Soya milk if you are vegan)
  • Warm water – approx 225ml
  • Sugar – 1/2 tsp
  • Oil, for greasing
  • Rice flour, for dusting

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How to make it:

  1. Add the warm milk, warm water  & sugar to a bowl and then add the dried yeast.Mix well and cover and leave aside for about 15 mins to wake up the yeast :-) Ensure water and milk are not too hot and can be touched with your finger comfortably. If it’s too hot then it may kill the yeast – I have done this before and ended up with dough that never rose and tasted horrible! 

  2. In another large bowl, mix the white & spelt flour with the salt so they are combined.

  3. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and mix together with your hands until the dough is well combined. Bring the dough together into a ball.

  4. Knead the dough on a clean surface for 20-25 minutes, or until the dough is elastic and smooth. You can add a little more warm water to loosen the dough if needed.

  5. Return the dough to a bowl, lined with olive oil, and cover with a clean damp tea towel or cling film. Set aside for 1-1½ hours in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size.

  6. When the dough has risen, return it to a floured work surface and knock it back.

  7. Separate the mixture into 10 parts and roll each into a ball. Flatten each slightly with the palm of your hand and transfer the rolls to a baking tray, placing them close together. At this point you can add different toppings to your rolls e.g. sesame seeds, poppy seeds, oats, herbs, chilli flakes etc.

  8. Cover the tray with cling film and set aside for another hour, or until the rolls have doubled in size again.

  9. Preheat the oven to 200 deg C

  10. When the rolls have expanded, dust them with the rice flour and transfer them to the oven. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until golden-brown and cooked through.

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September 14, 2016 · 3:56 pm

GBBO week 2 Biscuit Week

What a fab second episode of GBBO it was! I loved the freestyle round of dunking tea biscuits followed by the technical Viennese Swirls (one of my favourites!) and then then Gingerbread showstoppers. WOW! I have had my fair share in Gingerbread disasters but I do love them and the hit of spice they give.  One of my childhood favourites was the Viennese Swirl which my Mum would buy and the Mr Kipling brand was the business!  I love biscuit recipes as they don’t often involve too many ingredients and you after you have tried the recipe once or twice you can tweak it according to your taste and add on your favourite things as well.  So Biscuits are great for amateur and experienced Bakers alike….yeyyyy!

As someone who doesn’t like really sweet biscuits I find Shortbread a great tasting and simple bikkie. Shortbread is also a fairly simple recipe that even beginners to Biscuit making (like ME!) can have a go at. It keeps really well and actually tastes best a day after baking, making it a great recipe to bake in advance for any occasion. I love that these quintessentially British bikkies are so easy to make and I have tried to break down the steps in this recipe to make it even easier, I hope!.  When I was initially researching a good recipe, I found the best recipe from Anna Olsen here.  There are only a few steps but I have added a few extra photos to show you in a bit more detail and I thought it was especially important to show what the biscuit dough should look like.  It was hard when reading Anna’s recipe to work out exactly what the consistency should be but after my first attempt I got the hang of it and I hope I have explained my version of Anna’s recipe in enough detail. Please do let me know if you give it a try!

 

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Anna Olson’s recipe can be found in the link mentioned above, but here are my notes when I followed it. Please note that these are my personal changes to the ingredients and method and you may want to change according to your own preferences. So…. get ready…set…. BAAAAKE!

 

Notes on the ingredients (my changes/notes are in green)

  • ¾ cup unsalted butter – I used Lurpak brand
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar – I found the sweetness not quite enough. I used Tate & Lyle brand light brown soft sugar and used 3/4 cup.
  • 1 ¼ cups plain flour – I have used different brands of flour each time and it doesn’t seem to make a difference. I needed more flour when I made it and I used 1.5 cups.
  • ¼ cup brown rice flour I used 1/2 cup as the biscuits weren’t quite crisp enough for my liking and didn’t have the ‘snap’ factor I was looking for. I also used plain white rice flour – not the brown kind.
  • ½ tsp salt – This may be more salt than you may be used to, but make sure you do put in the whole 1/2 tsp as it makes all the difference!

Notes on the method:

1. I set my oven to 140 degrees Celcius – but ovens vary so do set accordingly.

2. When whisking the butter and sugar, this is the kind of light fluffy consistency that Anna Olson mentions:

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I whisked the butter and sugar for 6 minutes just to ensure everything is combined well. This whisking is what will hold the biscuit together and prevent too much crumbling.

3.  After sifting in the dry ingredients, whisk them together with the butter mixture until crumbly. It should not be like a cake batter but more like a cookie dough. See my photo below for the texture you’re looking for. I needed to add more flour (see notes on ingredients above) as the texture wasn’t quite right for me when I used 1 ¼ cups.

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4. Anna Olson asks for the biscuit to be baked for 1 hour but I found this a little too much so 50 minutes was enough for me.

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These biscuits really do melt in the mouth and the smells the emanate from the oven when you are baking them are just divine! Thanks so much Anna O and I hope I have done your recipe justice.  If you try these out do let me know what you think in the comment box below🙂

Thank you, S x

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Meatless any day

“Meatless Mondays” or “Meatfree Mondays” seems to be a developing fad in the Western world and although I think it’s a great way of getting people to eat less meat and more veggies, it can be amusing for my family and I to see what a big deal some people make it out to be. I know it’s easy for us veggies to sit and wonder why people find it so difficult to cook vegetarian dishes for themselves or for others and I remember when I was at school, how I hardly used to go over to my White English friend’s houses for dinner, as their parents would say “i just don’t know what to make for you”.  I just didn’t get why we ate vegetarian food all the time with such ease and they found it so weird and difficult. I could write a book about how times have changed and I’m really happy to say that I think the UK is the best place for a variety of vegetarian food in the Western part of the world! wooohoooo!!! It definitely needs to be celebrated as I have travelled a bit and not everywhere is as vegetarian friendly as the UK is now.  I think people are a lot more educated about the benefits of eating more fruit and veg and I don’t think people are as afraid of cooking vegetarian dishes as they perhaps used to be.

So whilst I am proud that Meatless Mondays are encouraging more people to eat more veggies,I want to stress that it really doesn’t have to be restrictive to one day of the week or made out to be a difficult task.  So here’s just a handful of recipes I have on the blog to hopefully inspire current Vegetarian/Vegans, or those who just need some ideas😉  If you try any of these recipes (or any others on the Blog) or have any queries about them, then please do let me know.

Thank you,

Suji x

 

Baked Tofu Samosa’s

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Baingan Borani (Aubergine in a Yoghurt Sauce)

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Baingan Borani

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheesy Pasta with a Herb & Nut crumble

Chilli Paneer

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Oat Crackers

 

Rice ‘n’ Spice Stirfry

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Lemon Rice

 

Tex Mex Veggie Chilli

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Avocado Whip

 

Chocolate Cheesecake

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Coconut Macaroons

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GBBO is back! It’s CAKE WEEK!

Many of you UK peeps who love baking or love watching baking programmes, must be excited that The Great British Bake Off is back!  Yipppeeee!! I am definitely one of those people who have set the whole series on record and has told the whole household that Wednesdays from 8.00 – 9.00pm are booked out for GBBO excitement!🙂

All the contestants this year look very interesting but I am liking Rav Bansal already how likes Vegan Baking. Yeyyy!

Well the first week’s theme is just simply cakes and this year I thought I would try and bake along and also contribute to the themes with my own versions.  So to start here is my recipe for eggless Lemon Drizzle cakes/muffins. I love this recipe, especially during these summer months as they are light and refreshing and easy to take on days out and picnics.  

Love Suji x

#CookEatInspire #sujiskitchen

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Sometimes it’s just easier making smaller portions to ensure everyone has a piece or if you are short on time (the latter is usually what happens with me!). So muffins are an easy way to make your favourite cake in a cute package and this lemon drizzle flavour is a really simple one!

These can be Vegan if you are using Soya Milk, but you need to keep these in an air tight container to keep them soft and moist.

Makes 10 – 12 standard size muffins

What you need:

  • Plain Flour – 280g  / 2.5 cups (you can use Self raising flour but leave out the baking powder)
  • Baking powder – 2 teaspoons
  • Bicarb of soda – 1/2 teaspoons
  • Salt – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Caster sugar – 110g /1 cup
  • Finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
  • Lemon juice – 2 tablespoons
  • Soya milk (or any other milk you prefer) – 150ml / 3/4 cup
  • Water – 90ml / 1/2 cup water
  • Vegetable oil – 90ml / 1/2 cup

For the drizzle:

  • Icing sugar – 60g / 1/2 cup
  • Lemon juice – 3 teaspoons
  • Grated lemon zest – 1/2 teaspoon

Optional: poppy seeds/chocolate chips

How to make it:

  1. Line your muffin tin with cases or oil & pre-heat oven to 180 C.
  2. Sift all the dry ingredients into a bowl and add the poppy seeds or chocolate chips if using
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together all the wet ingredients adding the lemon juice & zest at the end.
  4. Pour all of the wet ingredients in with the dry and combine well with wooden spoon. The batter should have a loose dropping consistency and you can add more milk if needed and don’t worry about any lumps in the batter.
  5. Fill the muffin cups 3/4’s full and bake for about 20 minutes or until the tops are slightly brown and spring back when pressed gently. Stir glaze ingredients together and drizzle over the hot muffins.

I’m drooling as I type out this recipe…..no joke!

lemon muffin

Next week’s theme is Biscuits, so happy baking until then!

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Filed under Baking, Desi, Food, GBBO, recipe, Snack, vegan, vegetarian

Summertime eats

Here’s a what I have been up to lately with my #CookEatInspire post. Thanks for reading all!

Suji x


COOK

During the summertime I tend to cook food that involves less time by the hob and more easy, light and refreshing dishes that suit the milder weather.  Although vegetable pulao is mostly cooked on the hob, I have used a good selection of veg here that can be pre-cooked in the microwave/steamer before adding to the pan, to make cooking time even quicker.  You can also use a Pressure Cooker, and I have mentioned the cooking times for that method below.

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The first veg pulao was named ‘Rainbow Rice’ by niece and I have decided to name it this in honour of her and let’s face it, it sounds much more fun! The ‘Rainbow Rice’ recipe was one made for my niece and nephew so has little spice, but the other ‘Bulgar Pulao’ was made for adults and you will find a more typical Pulao recipe but replacing the traditional rice with Bulgar.  The cracked Bulgar wheat I find gives the dish different nutrients and more diabetic-friendly and I have tried this with other millets and quinoa too, which all give different textures.

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Rainbow Rice (veg pulao for children)

Serves 2

  • Basmati Rice – 1 cup
  • Mixed Vegetables – 2 cups (I used a of beans, green bell peppers, red bell peppers, carrots and sweetcorn) – you need to use veg with different bright colours :-)
  • Onion- 1 medium sized, chopped finely (I sometimes use spring onions instead, for a milder flavour)
  • Chickpeas – a handful from a can (or you can use ones that you have cooked from dried)
  • Ginger – 1 inch piece
  • Garlic – 1 clove
  • Cinnamon – 1 inch piece
  • Cardamom – 1
  • Clove – 2
  • Bay leaf – 1
  • Cumin (Jeera) – 1 teaspoon
  • OIl- 1 tablespoon
  • Butter –  1 tablespoon (or veg oil if you want to keep it vegan)
  • Salt – as needed
  1. Soak the Basmati rice for at least an hour to ensure you get the correct texture. Peel and grind ginger, garlic, cinnamon with little water to fine paste. At this point, if you prefer to steam your mixed veg, you can do so now in the microwave or steamer.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the oil and then add the Cumin seeds, Cardamom, Clove and bay leaf. Then add the chopped onions and sautee until transparent. Add the ground ginger cinnamon garlic past, mix well and don’t let it burn.
  3. Add the vegetables and cook everything together on medium flame for about 5  mins. Then drain the rice and add to the pan and mix until well combined.
  4. Add salt, water and bring to a boil. Cook for about 12 – 14 mins until the rice and veg are cooked through. If using a pressure cooker you can cook for 2 whistles instead.
  5. Use a fork to fluff the pulao carefully and then finally add the butter (if using).  You could garnish with purple cabbage (cooked and chopped) for a further flurry of colour!

Enjoy seeing the faces on the children when you announce this as “Rainbow Rice”!🙂  Ok, so maybe the older children won’t be that excited… haa haa!  It will perfect to take away for picnics or other day outs and you won’t have to worry that your little ones haven’t had a good meal.

Try adding some cococnut milk when cooking the rice to give extra flavour and richness to the Pulao🙂

rainbow rice

Bulgar Wheat Pulao

I don’t use the pressure cooker for bulgar wheat as it can easily be overcooked so I find it easier to keep an eye on it

Serves 2

  • Bulgar wheat – 1 cup (I used the coarsely cracked bulgar wheat )
  • Mixed Vegetables – 2 cups (I usecoarse cracked bulgar wheatd a mixture of beans, green bell peppers, red bell peppers, carrots and sweetcorn
  • Onion- 1 medium sized, chopped finely
  • Chickpeas – a handful from a can (or you can use ones that you have cooked from dried)- I also add roasted tofu/seitan instead of chickpeas
  • Ginger – 1 inch piece
  • Garlic – 1 clove
  • Cinnamon – 1 inch piece
  • Green chillies – 2
  • Cardamom – 1
  • Clove – 2
  • Bay leaf – 1
  • Cumin (Jeera) – 1 teaspoon
  • OIl- 1 tablespoon
  • Butter –  1 tablespoon (or veg oil if you want to keep it vegan)
  • Salt – as needed
  1. Peel and grind ginger, garlic, green chillies, cinnamon with little water to fine paste. At this point, if you prefer to steam your mixed veg, you can do so now in the microwave or steamer.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the oil and then add the Cumin seeds, Cardamom, Clove and bay leaf. Then add the chopped onions and sautee until transparent. Add the ground ginger cinnamon garlic past, mix well and don’t let it burn.
  3. Add the vegetables and cook everything together on medium flame for about 5  mins. Then add the Bulgar wheat and mix until well combined.
  4. Add salt, water and bring to a boil. Cook for about 12 – 14 mins until the Bulgar and veg are cooked through.
  5. Use a fork to fluff the pulao carefully and then finally add the butter (if using) and you can also garnish with chopped coriander leaves and spring onions.

Bulgar Pulao


EAT

Want to try authentic Sri Lankan home cooked food? Then you NEED to follow Virundhu Supperclub! I was fortunate to finally make it to their third supperclub and I sure am glad I didn’t miss it this time! It was held in the very trendy, easily commutable, Docklands area and the venue had a gorgeous view of the Thames.

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The Supperclub is curated by the effervescent Ashanti Omkar who has done such an amazing job at coordinating the event and is a well known in the London Foodie circles ! The very talented Suhanya is the Chef who hails from such an interesting family of Keralan and Srilankan heritage and her passion for food definitely showed in the dishes she cooked for us! Her husband also helps behind the scenes and Suhanya’s sister, Veena, was the Host and Mixologist for the evening and is also a passionate foodie herself.

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There were about 10 guests in total and all were fabulous company, including the wonderful Chef Kanthi and his business partner from The Curry Leaf Cafe in Brighton (one of the next stops on my Food Bucket List!).  It was a hot day and the Cocktails (and the mocktail version) served by Veena were such a welcome refreshment! The passionfruit really stood out and frankly, I could have drunk a bucketful. Sluuuuurp!

To start off the Supperclub we were served some very moorish ‘Gundu Dosa’s’ which are just like the South Indian ‘Kuzhi Paniyaaram’. It was impressive to eat these with homemade tomato ketchup and Sambal (a typical Srilankan coconut chutney).  There were also some yummy cutlets which reminded me of one of my Aunties from Sri Lanka who often bought these to picnics when we were younger. You will definitely find cutlets of some sort in a Sri Lankan Picnic Basket!

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Gundu Thosai !!!!!

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I am not sure where to start with the main meal, as it was a typical Sri Lankan feast with so many curries to accompany the rice, as opposed to the rice being the star of the show.  Sri Lanka has amazing produce and Chef Suhanya had gone to great lengths to ensure the Virundhu Supperclub menu had fresh, good quality ingredients in all the dishes. Being a vegetarian, I cannot comment on the meat dishes that were served but the other guests definitely ‘ooed’ and ‘aaahed’ at all the non veg items and especially the fresh fish that Suhanya had sourced.  The highlights of our vegetarian feast were the Batu Moju (fried Aubergine) , the Mallung (Sri Lankan Kale, which is also known a ‘Ponnaangkaani Keerai’  in Tamil) and not forgetting the Del (Breadfruit) curry which in Tamil is ‘Eerapilaakkai’ and which I haven’t tasted in years! It’s not easy to buy really fresh Breadfruit in the Sri Lankan shops near me, so it was such a treat to taste this vegetable and Suhanya has prepared in such a delicate way so as not to overcook it and lose the amazing texture it has.  You can tell when the food is so delicious, when all of the guests become silent all of a sudden and you can just sense the pleasure that this food gives🙂

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I’m drooling as type this and revisit the photos, as I just want to have this meal all over again! There were SO many items on the menu and my photos and descriptions do not do them justice. Some tastes you just have to find out for yourself. You can tell the food is made from the heart and for me it was such a warm experience and I felt transported to one of our family homes in Sri Lanka.  The beautiful music collection chosen by Ashanti added to the lovely ambiance and my husband and I couldn’t help singing along to some of the classic Illayaraja tracks during the evening :-)  If you do get a chance to taste the food at Virundhu Supperclub , then I can tell you that you won’t be disappointed. It will be a ‘Virundhu’ (feast) for ALL your senses!

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Gundu Thosai !!!!!


INSPIRE

I am very excited to write about a very very talented person who is a continual inspiration to me both as a great food photographer and as a beautiful human being. She is the lovely Nessy Samuel.

 

 

For over a year her photography has dazzled me and continues to do so. As a food photographer and stylist Nessy has a great eye for beauty and can capture a view that you or I could have also seen, but not really focused on and so missed it’s highlight.  She definitely doesn’t miss the highlights and as a wonderful cook herself, she uses her own dishes as well as simple ingredients or lovely props in her shots.  Her website holds pictures of Still Life, Floral as well as Food. Simplicity in it’s most elegant form, is what I like to think of her style but in order to really see Nessy’s awesome work check out her stunning portfolio:  www. nessysamuelphotography.com/index.html

Nessy’s use of light, angles and composition of the photo’s are really awe-inspiring and it really brings out the best in what she is trying to capture. This photo below of Romanesco cauliflower is just stunning and you can get a great feel for the textures and colours with the background she’s chosen.

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Her talent does not stop here! She also has a great eye for the sights she experiences on her travels and her passion for natural beauty is what I admire most.  Nessy’s frames often look like famous paintings and I often feel like I am right there in the shot as well.  Nessy’s travel photography can be viewed here: https://www.instagram.com/wanderingoyster/  You will see what I mean and I hope she inspires you as much as she does me :-)

 

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This is a snapshot of Nessy’s inspiring Travel Instagram profile:  Wandering Oyster

 

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Filed under brunch, Desi, Dinner, Food, Lunch, supperclub, Travel, Uncategorized, vegan, vegetarian

May you be inspired!

What a foodtastic May has been! I feel like I haven’t been able to cope up with the plethora of foodie events going on at the moment. Eek! And as a result, this is a VERY delayed post …but a more concise one this time. I hope you like the different items in the #CookEatInspire elements of this blog post and do let me what know what you think abour these.🙂

Thank you! Suji x

 

 

Cook

Jackfruit Curry (Polos Curry)

polos curry

This curry is taken from one which I have eaten every time we go to Sri Lanka. Although I haven’t found suitable fresh jackfruit here in the U.K, the tinned jackfruit seems to work very nicely indeed! You do need to make sure you don’t buy the ripened jackfruit as that is a different variety and would give a completely different taste. The type I bought from my local Asian Supermarket is called “Green Jackfruit” and a picture is below.

PM jackfruit

This is my own recipe which I have simplified as I feel that in this case reducing the variety of spices brings out the flavour of the jackfruit. Traditionalists may disagree, but there’s only one way to find out🙂

Serves 2 people

What you need:

  • 1 can  Green Jack fruit
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1-2 green chillies, sliced lengthways
  • 2 tsp garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ginger, finely chopped
  • 2-3 tsp Srilankan curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 3 tablespoons coconut milk/coconut powder
  • salt to taste

To temper:

  • Mustard seeds
  • Cumin seeds
  • 1 sprig of curry leaves
  • 2 tablespoons of oil

How to make it:

  1.  Temper the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves in about 2 tablespoons of oil.
  2. Then add the onions, green chillies, ginger, garlic and  sautee until golden brown.
  3. Now add the curry powder and combine with the ingredients for about 30 seconds and then add the jackfruit, 2 tablespoons of water & salt.
  4. This next part is when you need some patience and some intuition. You need to cook the curry on a low flame until cooked. For me it took about 20 – 30 minutes and I used a heave bottomed pan and covered it with a lid. You may also need to add a little more water if it evaporates. You need the water to help cook the jackfruit.
  5. After the jackfruit is cooked through, add the coconut milk/coconut powder dissolved in water, and then cook for a further minutes.  Check the seasoning and then serve hot.

I like to serve this with red rice but it goes well with Roti’s too.

 

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Eat

Afternoon Chai with London Chai Party

I was very excited to be able to experience the wonderful food from the London Chai party ladies (Suchi, Gayathri and Nisha) at their Afternoon Chai event in East London! Having had their amazing 7 course Bing Bong Bengali feast, I knew I would be in for another treat for my palate. And boy, I wasn’t disappointed!

The venue was perfect for this afternoon event and the Afternoon Chai event definitely brightened up the grey day it had been so far.  It was refreshing to drink the Lychee and Tea Thumka that we were served when we arrived, wow, what a yummy concoction indeed and a great way to liven up my tastebuds for the treats ahead🙂

The lovely Gayathri introduced the event and talked about the background to all the different snacks and drinks.  I am trying hear to pick a favourite item, but I can’t! Each snack had it’s own unique flavour, like the spicy vada pav and the crispy Kuzhi paniyaaram and the sweet and spicy Bhakarwadi.  Oh my my my. I am salivating at the mere thought of these yummy snacks I consumed during the afternoon! All the girls were so passionate when you ask them about the thoughts behind the menu and their friendly demeanor and love of their food makes the whole experience so enjoyable and very different to other supperclubs and pop-up’s.

If you would like to know more about The London Chai Party team and their events then click here and if you want to know more about the Afternoon Chai party itself then do click here.

 

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Inspire

Chin’s Kitchen

Last month I went to the launch of Homebaked in London which provides a platform to connect very talented home bakers to foodies who are looking for delicious bakes. It’s as simple as that!

chin homebaked team

The Homebaked Team

PM chin hotel

At the event there was a very special baker who makes the most delicious and inspiring cakes and biscuits. She is none other than Chintal Kakaya from Chin’s Kitchen who makes cakes and treats with a unique indian twist.

PM chin stall

The lovely Chintal Kakaya and her DELICIOUS bakes :) 

Chintal has found a great niche in the market with her inventive flavours like ‘Gulab Jamun’ Cake, Chai Spiced Nankhatai and Indian spiced carrot cake with salted caramel (my personal fave). Her flavour combo’s are just genius! Chintal’s bakes are just so yummy, it really is hard to put into words! The different spices do come out clearly and they leave you wanting more and more. For more information check out Homebaked and Chintal’s own website with her full range of bakes Chin’s Kitchen.

PM chin cake

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Filed under Lunch, recipe, Snack, south indian, tamil, Uncategorized, vegetarian

The month of new years

I know January 1st is when the new year starts in much of the Western world, but April marks the start of the new year for a number of eastern cultures. The Thai new year “Songkran” is from 13th – 15th April and any festivities that last more than a day is a winner for me🙂 The Singhalese Buddhist as well as the Tamil & Keralan Hindu New Year is celebrated on 14th April and this is the date that my family celebrate our new year. Coincidentally, Sikhs celebrate ‘Vaisakh’ on the 14th too. Although this is not the Sikh new year, it is a celebration of the founding of the Khalsa, the collective body of baptised Sikhs created in 1699.  So basically it’s celebrations all round this month and a great way to #CookEatInspire🙂

 

COOK

So for the Thai New year I have my version of  Thai Green Curry.  This is my standard recipe that I have used for years but I don’t see any harm in using a good ready made paste from the shops if you just want to make this in a hurry. However I find most shop bought Thai Curry pastes don’t have enough of a spice kick and I often end up adding some spice anyway! So if you fancy using the Thai New Year to make this delicious curry here’s how it goes:

thai green curry PM

What you need:

  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 2-3 tbsp Thai green curry paste (you can use shop bought paste which are generally good, but I find these are not hot enough and not the right quantity)
  • 100 grams mushrooms cut into the same size chunks as the Tofu (I use the chestnut variety)
  • 200g of a mixture of other veg e.g. aubergine, broccoli, courgette, babycorn, green beans, peas, carrots
  • 200g of firm tofu – cut into bitesize chunks
  • 2 cups of coconut milk
  • A dash of light soy sauce
  • a handful of basil leaves (Thai basil leaves if you can get them but other varieties are fine too)
  • A few fresh green chilies (optional)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Salt

How to make it:

  1. Crush the garlic and slice the green chilies.
  2. Heat the oil in a deep pot. Add the crushed garlic and fry till it turns light golden.
  3. Now add the curry paste. Saute on a low flame till the raw smell disappears. Now add all your veg and fry for 2-3 minutes, increasing the flame. Add a pinch of salt and let the mushrooms cook a little until they have released moisture.
  4. Now reduce the flame add the coconut milk. Season the curry with salt, sugar and a dash of soy sauce. Let it simmer for a couple of minutes and add the tofu. Let the curry cook for a few minutes.
  5. Taste and adjust the flavours according to your taste. Add some more sliced green chilies if needed. Let the curry simmer till the mushrooms are completely cooked. Make sure not to boil the curry as the coconut milk may curdle. Turn off the heat and throw in the fresh basil leaves.

Serve over hot rice, quinoa or noodles. I find this curry also goes well with Lotus Root Fry.

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For Tamil New year it is traditional to make a sweet dish as part of the celebrations and this usually comes in the form of either a type of ‘Paayasam’ or other sweets or ‘Mithai’. Those who know me well know I am not at all a sweet tooth and so I came up with something that wasn’t too sweet or with lots of Ghee oozing out of it and infact uses natural sweetening agents. Date & Pistachio Ladoo’s are really easy to make but you will need a food processor/blender (but not imperative) if you want to make it super quick. A sweet celebration without the guilt!🙂

1 PM

 

This makes x16 bite size Burfi balls or x8 bigger Burfi. (Yes I know there’s 15 in the photo, but there has to be a treat for the Chef you know!)

What you need:

  • 140g pitted dates
  • 30g pistachio nuts (other nuts can also be used like hazelnuts, walnuts, pecan)
  • 2 teaspoons Chia seeds (these can be omitted if you don’t have any to hand)
  • 2 to 3 Cardamom pods
  • 2 teaspoons Maple syrup (or you can also use honey if you are not Vegan)

How to make it:

  1. Put the nuts and Chia (if using) in the blender and blitz until you get the texture you want. I usually aim for a texture that’s not too fine and more coarse. (I sometimes take out some of the ground nuts at this point and use it for an extra coating at the end.)
  2. Then add the dates and maple syrup and blitz again until all ingredients are well combined. If the dates are really hard, you can soak them in hot water for about 30mins if you wish.
  3. Roll into your desired size balls.

You can also dip these in chocolate or dessicated coconut for a more decadent version!

3. Place the balls in individual cases if you have them. You don’t have to put them into cases but they look special if you do:-)

4. Place on a tray or plate and keep in the fridge to firm up a bit for about 15mins. You can also keep these in the fridge overnight or for a few days before you want to eat them. Just make sure you take them out about 30mins before serving so they aren’t too cold to eat.

I have previously added 2 tablespoons of Horlicks too to give these ladoo’s malty taste and I reduce the amount of Maple syrup to balance the sweetness in the Horlicks. Do try any other flavour combo’s that you think will work with these🙂

2 PM

 

 

EAT

I have been dying to tell you all about an amazing Supperclub that I went to recently!!!!!! (the silly number of exclamation marks show how excited I am!) It’s run by the lovely ladies at London Chai Party and they have been making delicious food together for a number of years now. Their latest Supperclub is called ‘The Big Bong Lunch‘ and is a humongous 7 course Bengali feast. Yes indeed. You did read that correctly. SEVEN COURSES! I could hardly walk after consuming this amazing feast, but it was worth it and I recommend you go to this Supperclub with a completely empty stomach and an ability to pace yourself during this gastronomic party. The dishes are from West Bengal and Suchi explained that they would typically be eaten during a big celebration like a wedding.

 

One of my favourite dishes was ‘Shukto’ which reminded me of the South Indian ‘Avial’ but of course was very distinct as the spices were very different to Avial but was very light and comprised of delicately cooked vegetables. I could have eaten a whole plateful of it!🙂 But of course I couldn’t because that would mean I missed out on the rest of the courses – no way! I would love to tell you about all the other courses but you really must try if for yourself and any further descriptions on my part would definitely spoil it. But take my word for it that you will not be disappointed. Each course has been cleverly thought out by the talented Suchi, Gayathri and Nisha and Suchi’s passion and love for her Bengali roots definitely comes through in the food. I really can’t wait for the next Supperclub by this amazing trio and their wonderful team!

If I have got you interested and drooling for more..then click on these links for their next exciting food events: The South Indian Brunch on Sunday 24th April and The Big bong Lunch (the next date TBC) and not forgetting the yummy delights at the Chai Party (sign up for future dates). And if you are in the Sutton Area the London Chai party team will be at the Pop Up Market there on these dates:

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Thanks to a dear friend of mine, I learnt a few weeks ago was that there is a vegan & vegetarian PUB in central london! I know ! My eyebrows lifted quite high too when my lovely friend told me about it! So one rainy day in Soho, my friend took me to this quaint pub called The Coach and Horses which was easy to find at the end of Greek Street in Soho. The restaurant has a weird entrance inside the middle of the pub, but once you are upstairs you can’t hear the ruckus downstairs and you enter a serene ‘living room-like’ restaurant. It has quirky interior decor which makes it even more endearing and my friend and I eye-up the vegan cakes as we are taken to our seats (i am so going there for afternoon tea!).

Apologies for the poor quality photos below, but it was taken with my phone in dim lighting.

The menu is seasonal apparently, but all I needed was comfort from life that evening so I shared a delicous French onion soup with my friend and then delved into some wholesome ‘Tofush & Chips’.

Delicious French Onion Soup

Tofush and Chips

The Tofush and Chips which I haven’t eaten before was quite satisfying but I felt it did lack seasoning and I think next time I’ll try out the Celeriac, Chesnut & Parsnip Sausages that my wise friend ordered🙂  Deeeelish!!!!

With our tummies full but still yearning for that sweet kick at the end of our meal, we ordered the Chocolate and Walnut Brownie with Vanilla Ice cream and Chocolate sauce. Wow, it definitely hit the spot and I would highly recommend it! I loved the mixture of soft and crunchy and it was impressive to hear that they make their own ice cream ..nom nom nom.

It’s commendable that they mixture of both vegan and veggie choices on this menu, but for fans of Tea & Coffee, I’m afraid they don’t serve hot drinks for dinner. I was SO disappointed to say the least. No hot drinks for dinner? What is that about?!?!? When I questioned this, our waitress said that they turn off their big water heater after tea time and it takes too long to turn on again. Haa ha haaa!! Haven’t they heard of kettles? I hope they really change this restriction as there is nothing like a hot cuppa after a satisfying meal. But I am definitely coming back to sample more of this menu and especially the vegan cakes (AND TEA!) that I couldn’t fit in during this first visit🙂

I have explored plenty of other eateries in and around London so watch this space for more reviews and recommendations🙂

 

INSPIRE

Something that has inspired me this last month is a beautiful food blog by the very talented Rekha Shivakumar. Resh Kitchen has a variety of delicious vegetarian recipes and contains very easy to follow instructions and needless to say, lots of droolworthy photos! I think the great thing about Rekha’s recipes are that they are kept simple – nothing crazy or over-the-top. It is simply, delicious ingredients cooked to perfection for her love of food! Having grown up in a Tamil Brahmin family, she has the richness of this culture in her dishes and her recipes are also taken from all around India as well as other parts of the world. You can tell she cooks from the heart and do sign up to her blog to ensure you don’t miss her yummy recipes and she’s also on Twitter , Pinterest and is so popular on Instagram too!  Do check out her latest reviews and recipes!

rekha

I am lucky to know Rekha and I often explore restaurants and pop-ups around London with her, the very talented Nessy (follow her for the release of STUNNING photos in her upcoming portfolio!) and other foodie friends. Recently we went to Borough Market in London Bridge and check out Rekha’s post on our visit to Pulia .

 

I am inspired especially by those who are wonderful food photographers and I can tell you more about these fab people in my next posts…I hope you will be amazed as I am by their talent!

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Another read that has inspired me is the new FREE food mag! It’s called ‘Foodism‘ (I totally love the name!) and has lots of fab articles about restaurants, the latest food fad, great chef’s and not forgetting the amazing pop-up’s that are taking London by storm.  You can sign up to find out when exactly the magazine is published but at the moment it’s going to be every other month. And you don’t have to be in London to read it (brilliant!), you just register your details on line and you can read it digitally. Very environmentally friendly!

I got my copy! Have you??

I picked my copy up on the way back from London last week and I loved reading about Tomasina Mier’s new venture, a yummy Apple Tatin recipe, some intriguing restaurants and there’s lots of competitions too. And this is just a fraction of what’s in it! I still can’t quite believe it’s free and I’m looking forward to what’s in store in the next issue🙂

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Finally, to finish my post I wanted to bring you to the attention to this hilarious #tambrahm website called We Are Tambrahm.🙂 For those of you new to the term #tambrahm, it’s short for ‘Tamil Brahmin’ – a tamil person who has been born into the caste of ‘Barhmin’s’ originating from Tamil Nadu. Now many disagree with using this term at all in this current time, but you cannot deny the amazing FOOD that is attached to this label.  This type of food is what I grew up with and that has inspired my blog and love of food and it’s part of my identity.

wearetambrahm

The ‘We Are Tambrahm’ Instagram page

So this forum We Are Tambrahm is a great site for typical #tambrahm quotes, sayings, traditions and of course…food!  You have to read it to get what I am saying and there are some great writers out there who contribute to this community blog. They are also on Twitter , Facebook and Instagram…yeyyy!  Look forward to reading more and I am sure lots of TamBrahms out there are already preparing their Paayasams and Vadai’s for the “Puthaandu” (New Year) celebrations this week!

 So..here’s wishing a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR to all those who are celebrating and watch this space for more #CookEatInspire posts🙂

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Filed under Food, food festivals, TamBrahm, tamil, Uncategorized, vegan, vegetarian

Finally something worth posting about!

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Me being silly with the Hippo face oven glove🙂 (I need to get me some!)

My Kitchen Adventures is BACK! (I hope you’ve missed me🙂 )

It’s been quite a few months since I last posted on here and it is really nice to be writing again :-) So what’s new you ask? Well, I’m going to try out a new format for my posts which will reflect my food blog motto that I use all the time on Instagram and often on Twitter and Facebook too:

#CookEatInspire

My posts are now going to be monthly with some juicy new recipes and food talk and I thought it would be nice to incorporate my little motto #CookEatInspire in the following way:

Cook

This section will include either recipes of my own or from others and will be based on whatever has inspired me at the time.  I get inspired very easily when it comes to food, so if you have any suggestions or requests then please do comment at the bottom of this post. Thank you! Thank you!  ♥

Eat

This will feature places that I have eaten at during the past month or so. They will mostly be restaurants, pop-ups or supperclubs, but maybe about a meal I have had at a friends or family members house. I am very thankful to be surrounded some very talented cooks and I can’t wait to tell you about some great dishes that will blow your tastebuds away! There are soooooo many nice meals that I have eaten that are made by others, so it seems criminal not to be sharing them with you🙂 Is there a great restaurant or pop-up you would recommend? Then please do let me know!🙂  Are you on Instagram? Then come and join me on my page where you can see what I have been up to lately and hopefully you’ll like the foodie pics too🙂

Inspire

In this last section of my posts, I hope to inspire you with foodies that have inspired me! This section maybe about articles related to food and nutrition, food bloggers, organisations or just anyone who has given me inspiration and pause for thought. OMG there is so much going on out there!!!

So my first new format post is coming out very soon so watch this space! Thank you so much to all of you who continue to support my (sometimes crazy!) food adventures and I am excited about this new chapter………

Suji x

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Roasted Cauliflower & Chickpea warm Salad – adapted from Simply Nigella

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This recipe is originally from the ‘Simply Nigella‘ series and I loved the way that it could be made into a light dinner or lunch, or as an accompaniment to Cous cous like I have done in my recipe.  It’s such a great way to use cauliflower and chickpeas together! You can find Nigella’s fab recipe here.  

I have used the same main ingredients as in the original recipe, but I rarely have that much spare parsley which gives a great colour contrast to this dish. So I have used steamed green beans to inject that fresh green hue running through it and for added nutrients. Instead of the usual Harissa paste, I have used Rose Harissa by Belazu which gives a gorgeous scent as well as flavour and the cauliflower and chickpeas absorb this flavour really well!

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These are my adaptations to the original ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp Rapeseed or Vegetable oil (I find these better than Olive oil for roasting veg)

  • 1 tsp Nigella (Kalonji) seeds
  • 2 tbsp Belazu rose harissa , to taste

  • 100g steamed fine beans

  • A handful of chopped parsley (rather than a large bunch)

  • 1 packet of Halloumi, grilled or roasted

How to make it:

I used the same method as Nigella except I added the steamed beans at the end and gave everything a good stir and I served this with Lemon cous cous .  I also found I had to roast the cauliflower for a little longer, so it ended up being for 25 minutes for the initial roast instead of 15 minutes as stated in the original recipe.

The pomegranate seeds give a lovely sweet ‘zing’ to the dish which really balances out all the flavours. You’ll know what I mean when you taste it🙂  I think these are integral to the dish and perhaps would be hard to replace.

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I would love to know if you try out Nigella’s recipe and if you use any alternative ingredients! I’d love to get your feedback so please do comment in the box below.

Thank you, Suji x

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